New Trip Report: The Western Sahara

A new report from Jean-Michel Bompar on a trip last month to the Western Sahara. Great photos and a cautionary reminder on the difficulty of IDing gerbils in the field.

Western Sahara, November 2018: Jean-Michel Bompar, 1 week & 17 species including Saharan Striped Polecat, African Wild Cat, Sand Cat, and Red, Rueppell’sFennec Foxes.



  • Chris Townend

    Great to see more trip reports coming out from the Western Sahara and that people are sharing their sightings. However, as has been stated before by Dan Brown on this forum, I really would urge people to be extremely cautious, particularly about statements on trip reports that define certain areas that are free from land mines. Things often change in this area after rain with the movement of land mines and only last year there was an incident with a land mine just a few kilometres from the road. Access to Leglat is also very dangerous unless you know the exact route to the area.

    As the owner of a wildlife watching tour company that visits this area, I was hesitant to make a comment as it may be seen as motivated purely for business. That is not the case at all, as I believe that the more tourists that visit this region for wildlife (independently or otherwise) can only be good for the region and it will hopefully help in protecting it. After all, the region has some great wildlife to offer and it is probably the best place in the world to see Sand Cat. Just please ensure that if visiting the area independently that you do so with caution and presume nothing without the advice of local knowledge. A simple rule: if you are visiting independently then stick only to the main asphalt roads and if you want to go off-road, then make sure you have a local guide with you who has knowledge of where is safe. It will only take one ‘tourist’ incident to shut the area down for everyone.

  • Jean Michel Bompar

    Thank you Chris. I completly agree with you (10 years ago, one of my friends was killed by a land mine in this region). May be my very bad English minimised the danger of land mines.

  • tomeslice

    Hey Jean-Michele, great report!

    I also liked your Saharan Striped Weasel.
    For a second I thought you were refering to a sub-species of the African Striped Weasel, which remains one of the rarest animals in Africa… But I realized it’s another species of striped polecate. Anyway, still really cool. Another animal that has so far eluded me.


  • Lennart Verheuvel

    Hi Jean-Michele,

    Thanks a lot for the great report, I will definitely be using it when I will go there in january! Could you tell me a little bit more about the Bougouffa trail? Is it drivable if you are not using a 4×4? Looks like you got some great sightings of sand cat over there (which will be our main target) I noticed you reported two sightings very close to each other on consecutive days, is that also where you took the picture? Appears to be a very reliable spot

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